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The Week In Yelp: BBQ Season Has Arrived!

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From the people who brought you The Week in Craig, one of the all time great uses of the internet, comes The Week in Yelp, wherein Amy Blair takes aim at the ridiculousness that is the world of Yelp. Her intrepid Yelp-surfing, and words, follow:

2008_01_yelp.jpgNow that Memorial Day is over, is it safe to say that it's finally, unofficially summer? Is it also safe to say that thus begins the season of insane gluttonous barbecue overindulgence? Because I don't know about you, but that's pretty much what I plan to do with my summer (such lofty goals!). Thankfully the kids over on Yelp are just chock full of their ever "helpful" suggestions about where to go for the best barbecue action around. Plus, as an added bonus with your restaurant review you get a side of fuzzy wuzzy Americana, hand jobs from strangers on the subway, waddling livestock in elastic-waistband pants, and of course, Skraggle. Ah Yelp. How you confuse me so.

First up, a guy who will marry the first woman he meets who loves Pete’s Barbeque as much as he does?lest he spend the rest of his life eating tofu and?(queue the ominous music)?ORGANIC PRODUCE (no, anything but organic produce!). So, ya know. Like, yay America and stuff.

Attention: man heaven has been found. All hail.

$6.99 for chicken, macaroni salad and buttered bread? They even slather the bread with butter for you! Sure it wasn't that really nice french-style butter I got at RNM last month, but it's melt in your mouth goodness nonetheless, right?

Seriously, any place that uses a scissor to cut the ginormous portions they dole out is a-ok in my book.

My humble suggestion: bring a date. If she smiles at the sight of rotisserie goodness, she's a keeper.

If she gives you her death look, get rid of her.

Oh - I'm not done. There is another reason to bring a date. I promise you: she will not finish her food. Chances are your significant other will donate half her chicken to you. So, in essence, if you bring a date you get a half chicken instead of a quarter. Brilliant!

If you can't bring a date to a wholesome place like Pete's I guarantee you that you put a rock on that finger and the next thing you know and your ass will be sifting through tofu at Rainbow Grocery or picking up that box of organic produce you now get delivered to your house.

For real though: this is a family joint and when the owner actually works there (as he has for many years) and tells me to have a nice day as I walk out it gives me that fuzzy wuzzy americana feeling. Go USA!

For those of you bitc*ing about lack of choice: what is wrong with you? That's like complaining to God about ONLY having blondes, brunettes and redheads. Would you question God, would you?

If meat is your god, Pete's BBQ is your sanctuary.


Next up, “popping wood” at the thought of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, and the reason why I avoid sitting too close to strangers on the subway?
My girlfriend is from Syracuse. She moved down here a many eons (fine, a few years) ago and never looked back. The transplanted Upstater to the hustle and bustle of Grand Ol' New Yawkkkk City. Dinosaur is the same thing. It is a transplant.

I took her there as a surprise one night, I said "Hey, lets go to Syracuse." Now the 5 hour drive would have killed me (considering I didn't even have a car at the time) so I said let's just hop on the subway and go. I cannot tell you the excitement that showed on her face when I said where we were going on that random day. And what a good boyfriend I was...I had a reservation. You need one. Trust me. You definitely need one.

Onto the food. This is by far the best BBQ in the city, lest someone step up to the challenge (Hill Country, not so bad....). The chicken is tender, the ribs are amazing...and that corn bread. Last time I popped wood just walking in thinking about it. Food can do that to you, or getting a handy from the stranger on the subway ride up. Ok, that didn't happen, but in a perfect world it would...especially when you are going to a dreamy food place like Dinosaur.

Indeed, in a perfect world we would all be getting “handies” from strangers on the subway. As if I need anything else to horrify me about my morning commute.

Moving on to a review of Blue Smoke written by the only guy in New York who can’t seem to find a decent restaurant in the City?

I'm grouchy. I'm a contrarian. Maybe that's why I like spicy and savory foods and dislike sweet. Americans love sweet. That's why we're a nation of elastic-waistband-pants-wearing waddling livestock.

Right, this is a restaurant review. Focus.

Blue Smoke is a nice venue. Bright and airy. But I got the feeling that the main ingredient in every dish was Karo syrup. I like my collards with smoky pork bits and vinegar that makes you pucker up and squint slightly. Blue Smoke's were sugary. I like my mac 'n' cheese spicy and salty and toothsome with a baked crust on top. Blue Smoke's was Velveeta-y and saccarine. I like my ribs dry rubbed and smoked for 12 hours so they're smoky, spicy, chewey and a little tough. Blue Smoke's ribs were squishy "fall off the bone" meat doused in the usual molasses-like sauce.

I know everyone out there is conditioned to think that BBQ should taste like Blue Smoke. I know my tastes are unusual. So, if you're a normal, typical, common, ordinary, pedestrian American you'll love it. If you're like me and demand something more interesting for your $30 keep looking. I've been looking for 7 years and haven't found anything in NYC that appeals to me - and I probably never will because any such restaurant would alienate the masses and quickly go out of business.

It sucks being an odd duck.

Oh, poor little duckie! It’s just so damn sad being better than everyone else, isn’t it? Also, if you’re going to be a big enough asshole to claim that there isn’t a restaurant in all of New York City good enough to suit your highly evolved tastes, you probably want to learn how to spell “chewy” and “saccharine” correctly. Just saying.

And finally, how to restore the balance of the universe just by popping a barbeque rib bone in your mouth?

Since Skraggle and I have been dating, there is not a day that goes by where he doesn't try to demonstrate his manliness to me in some way, shape or form. He usually does this through various tactics such as:

Slapping me on my ass whenever I walk by him and saying shit like, I'd like to tap that! Or stating, Real men don't cry but when I do, my tears are made from muriatic acid. And my favorite if not the most traumatizing line: If my farts don't burn your nose hairs, then I haven't done my job.

So it was no suprise to me when Skraggle selected BBQ for his birthday lunch treat. You can't get more manly than BBQ meat. BBQ stains dribbled down the front of your shirt is the Badge of Manhood. In fact, when I am feeling a surge of estrogen, and I can usually tell if this is happening when I get all lovey dovey and shit and want to talk about my feelings, I usually pop a BBQ rib bone in my mouth and the balance of the universe is restored.

However, to select the Outdoor Grill, when you can eat anywhere you want is well, frankly... a little gay.

Gay, you might be wondering. Yes, gay as in limp wristed and light in the britches. Gay as in the baby back pork ribs, mac and cheese and salad did not satisfy me. Gay as in the sauce is too sweet for my liking; there was no kick, no umph, just a slight tickling, a tentative Pas de Valse on your tongue. and if you know what I mean, consider yourself gay.

After this unfulfilling meal, it is safe to say that Skraggle no longer has a 24/7 VIP all inclusive access to my goods. He has been officially cut off and will have a tough time reinstating his manhood in my eyes.

Oh, Skraggle. Didn’t anyone tell you that baby back pork ribs, mac and cheese and salad from Outdoor Grill on your birthday is, in a woman’s eyes, the equivalent of sticking your wang in another dude’s booty? Let this be a lesson to men everywhere?don’t go to Outdoor Grill or you might just lose 24/7 access to your woman’s privates.

—Amy Blair